Course Schedule for Spring 2019


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BLHS-200-01   NEW!

Advanced Writing for the Profession

Communicating effectively in writing is an important skill in almost every professional setting. Advanced Professional Writing introduces students to writing skills applicable in a number of different arenas, including business, marketing, law, and academia. You will learn how to tackle white papers, memos, position papers, op-eds, social media, blogs, grants, slide decks, emails, and other genres in multiple contexts. How do these different genres demand attention to different types of audiences, rhetorical tasks, and conventions? How do you manage information in a white paper or grab an audience's attention using social media? Learn how to write persuasively, how to organize your work effectively, and how to adapt your style to different contexts and audiences, meanwhile developing a writing and editing process that allows you to write with confidence, beat procrastination, and meet your deadlines.


BLHV-464-101

AI and Transhumanism

Transhumanism is the belief that technology can allow us to improve, enhance and overcome the limits of our biology. More specifically, transhumanists believe that by merging man and machine via biotechnology, molecular nanotechnologies and artificial super intelligence, one day science will yield humans that have increased cognitive abilities, are physically stronger, emotionally more stable and have indefinite life-spans. This path, they say, will eventually lead to "posthuman" intelligent (augmented) beings far superior to man - a near embodiment of god This course is intended to give students an overview of a number of hot topics at the intersection of technical, scientific, ethical and religious debates in our society. Specifically, by the end of this course, students should be able to understand the major facts about the accelerated development of scientific concepts and technologies:

  • Course #: BLHV-464-101
  • CRN: 36227
  • Format: Online
  • Instructor: Cautis, D.
  • Dates: Jan 09 – May 11, 2019
  • Syllabus: Download

BLHS-103-01

Biblical Literature and the Ancient World

This course studies Biblical literature in the social, political, and religious context of the ancient Mediterranean world. It begins with a historical overview that is careful to map it onto the "Greeks and Romans" course so that students will be oriented historically and geographically and see the overlap. It traces the history (including prehistory) of ancient Hebrews, the emergence of Christianity, the early relationship between Judaism and Christianity, and the struggle for Christianity to define itself in the Roman Empire before it became for all practical purposes the official religion of the Roman Empire. Segment 1: Hebrew Scripture: Text and Context This segment introduces the student to the literature of ancient Judaism, which eventually was collected in the Hebrew Bible. The segment's chronological framework extends from the formation of ancient Israel in the land of Canaan down to the emergence of Hellenistic Judaism in the post-Exilic age. Within that framework, the segment will cover the pre-history of ancient Israel as a people developing among its neighbors in the ancient Near East. Likewise will it consider the pre-literary and literary history of biblical texts. Attention to genre, literary form, and the redaction of biblical texts will comprise the main part of the segment. Consideration of relevant archeological discoveries will show the relationship between material and literary culture in ancient Israel. Towards this end, various literary and historical methods of biblical study will help the student to apprehend the biblical texts themselves, set against the religious, social, and political history of ancient Israel. Segment 2: New Testament: Text and Context This segment introduces the student to the literature of early Christianity, which eventually was collected in the New Testament. Restricting itself to the time between 50-110 CE, the chronological framework of the course is co-terminus with the time of the production of New Testament texts. These writings will be examined according to their genre, literary forms, and historical context. To that end, the history of the earliest Christian communities will be recovered from these texts to the extent that that can be reasonably done. For example, the establishment, growth and maintenance of communities of Pauline Christians will be apprehended from a careful chronological examination of Paul's Letters. The Gospels will yield valuable information for understanding the earliest Jesus movement and the handing on of its tradition to the later communities for which those Gospels were composed. The relevant historical context of the Greco-Roman period, as that has affected the formation of earliest Christianity and its literature, will also be considered. Segment 3: Religions in the Roman Empire (ca. second through the fifth centuries CE) This segment studies the struggle of early Christians to define themselves and the

  • Course #: BLHS-103-01
  • CRN: 36245
  • Format: On-campus
  • Instructor: Jensen, J.
  • Dates: Jan 09 – May 11, 2019
  • Class Meetings:
  • Syllabus: Download

BLHS-415-101

China's Rise to Global Power

Will the 21st century be China’s century? Are we headed for a Chinese-led global order? Conflicting opinions abound on what the future holds for China, but key elements of the present picture are not in doubt: one, China is the leading economy in Asia, the world’s most dynamic region, accounting for about 60% of global growth; two, China is following a clear strategy to promote innovative technologies at home and extend its business, trade, and investment interests abroad both regionally and globally; and, three, understanding China with its unique development path, rapid transformation, and expanding presence worldwide is essential for all Americans, particularly next-generation job seekers in a range of fields from cybersecurity to law, business, IT services and emerging technologies such as AI and robotics. “China’s Rise” helps explain China beyond the headlines: how its economy grew so big so fast, what is distinctive about its policies, practices, and institutions today, and whether China can sustain economic momentum in the face of increased pressure from the United States in the years ahead.

Note: This course is online.


BLHV-298-101

Cities & Inclusion

This course explores inclusion in cities. It does this in a broad and inter-disciplinary manner, exploring varies concepts, perspectives, and locations, and with a focus on the non-Western world. More specifically, the course asks students to explore the notion of sustainable development and the commitments around the UN Sustainable Development Goals as they pertain to the urban environment, and challenges students to unpack both challenges and opportunities in this regard. The class canvasses issues related to housing, poverty, migration, and gentrification, and investigates the role and relevance of law, the private sector, and social movements.

Note: This course is online.


BLHS-108-01

Enlightenment, Revolution and Democracy

This course examines the Enlightenment from the particular angle of its relationship to the cultivation of democratic ideals and the emergence of modern democracies. It thus examines issues such as toleration, the rights and responsibilities of the individual, the importance of reason, and the role of religion in society. Segment 1: The Enlightenment This segment naturally has a strong philosophical component, examining such thinkers as Benedict de Spinoza (and other 'free-thinkers'), John Locke on toleration, Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Immanuel Kant, and Mary Wollstonecraft. This is something different, however, from a course on modern philosophy. It also explores how the Enlightenment motto "Dare to Know!" reverberated in many areas of society and in many different places and how it was expressed through a variety of genres. Segment 2: The American Revolution Through a variety of genres, this segment explores the revolutionary period in America: the revolutionary promise as experienced and articulated on many levels of society, the impact of the revolution on various levels of society, and the ideals laid out in the Constitution. Segment 3: The French Revolution This segment reflects on debates about the origin of the French Revolution; it follows the course of the revolution itself, including Revolutionary politics, the collapse of the monarchy, and the reign of terror; in considering the aftermath of the revolution, it also treats responses by those in other countries and so anticipates the nineteenth century.


BLHS-105-01

Faith and Reason in the Middle Ages

The relation between faith and reason is one of the perennial issues in Western thought. With the renaissance of the twelfth century and the founding of universities throughout Europe in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries, the question of faith and reason was dramatically recast. The rediscovery of Aristotle—and so, the use of Aristotelian logic, grammar, physics, and metaphysics—led to the development of new methods of inquiry, categories of thought, and modes of expression. This course begins with the twelfth-century renaissance; the cross-fertilization among Muslim, Jewish, and Christian scholars; the rise of the universities as important institutions; and the development of scholasticism. It focuses on the development of the scholastic method, resistance to it, and, in particular, discussions and sometimes fierce debates about "faith and reason" in Christianity and Judaism. The course also looks at the issue of authority and alternative approaches to faith and reason (e.g., mystical texts and vernacular theologies), the category of "heresy" and its ramifications (social, political, religious).

Note: The relation between faith and reason is one of the perennial issues in Western thought. With the renaissance of the twelfth century and the founding of universities throughout Europe in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries, the question of faith and reason was dramatically recast. The rediscovery of Aristotle—and so, the use of Aristotelian logic, grammar, physics, and metaphysics—led to the development of new methods of inquiry, categories of thought, and modes of expression. This course begins with the twelfth-century renaissance; the cross-fertilization among Muslim, Jewish, and Christian scholars; the rise of the universities as important institutions; and the development of scholasticism. It focuses on the development of the scholastic method, resistance to it, and, in particular, discussions and sometimes fierce debates about "faith and reason" in Christianity and Judaism. The course also looks at the issue of authority and alternative approaches to faith and reason (e.g., mystical texts and vernacular theologies), the category of "heresy" and its ramifications (social, political, religious).

  • Course #: BLHS-105-01
  • CRN: 18328
  • Format: On-campus
  • Instructor: Ray, J.
  • Dates: Jan 09 – May 11, 2019
  • Class Meetings:

BLHS-102-01

Greeks and Romans

This course introduces students to the literature and culture of the Greeks and Romans, with particular attention paid to texts whose influence will be seen in later parts of the curriculum. It includes a brief overview of the history and geography of the ancient Mediterranean world and includes some discussion of material culture, but its primary focus is textual. The course aims to introduce students to some of the major genres of writing to come out of the ancient Mediterranean, with special emphasis placed on epic, tragedy, comedy, historiographical prose, and philosophy. Although philosophical texts are taught as a separate segment, they will be read as part of a broader ancient discussion, played out in other genres as well, of questions of justice, freedom, and the like. Given the nature of the texts read, students will require grounding in the basics of ancient Greek and Roman religion and ritual practice. Since this will be one of the first literary courses taken by students, special focus will be placed on close reading and analysis.

  • Course #: BLHS-102-01
  • CRN: 16330
  • Format: On-campus
  • Instructors: McNelis, C. , Sens, A.
  • Dates: Jan 09 – May 11, 2019
  • Class Meetings:
    • Tue 6:00 PM - 9:35 PM, Healy, Room 321

BLHS-303-01

Introduction to Literature and Writing

In this class, we will focus on two things: we will read literature carefully and critically, and we will practice writing. How can we read in ways that help enrich our understanding of writing? How does writing work and what can it do? You will practice different types of writing. You will research, evaluate, and synthesize evidence in order to build and support effective analyses and arguments for different contexts, purposes, and audiences. We will cultivate a supportive and challenging classroom environment, treating everyone and everything in the classroom space as a component of a united writing community.

Note: For PJI Scholars only.


BLHS-304-01

Introduction to Political Philosophy

In this issues course we will discuss foundational issues in political philosophy: freedom, rights (and rightlessness), economic and social structure.

Note: For PJI Scholars only.


BLHS-101-01

Introduction to the Social Sciences

What does it mean to be a member of a particular society? How is it that individuals both form and are formed by society? Who exercises power and in what ways? While all Core Courses address these questions in some way, it is especially the social sciences that are designed to explore them in depth. This course introduces students to the basic theories, methods, and particular contributions of anthropology, psychology, and sociology in attempting to answer such questions. It will provide students with a better understanding of the social and cultural worlds they inhabit and offer needed tools for analyzing the material covered in other Core Courses as well.

  • Course #: BLHS-101-01
  • CRN: 31905
  • Format: On-campus
  • Instructors: Gray, M. , Wiggins, J.
  • Dates: Jan 09 – May 11, 2019
  • Class Meetings:
  • Syllabus: Download

BLHS-104-01

Medieval Thought and Culture

This course provides an overview of medieval history and the transformations of medieval society, from the waning of the Roman Empire through the fifteenth (and early sixteenth) centuries. The focus is on Western Europe, although attention will be paid to Europeans’ perception of forces, cultures and empires beyond their borders (e.g., the Vikings, the Byzantine Empire, the rise of Islam, etc.). Through a variety of genres (literary, religious, philosophical, and political texts—as well as art and music), this course explores the medieval imagination and the many textures of medieval life and thought.

  • Course #: BLHS-104-01
  • CRN: 36914
  • Format: On-campus
  • Instructors: Francomano, E. , Ray, J.
  • Dates: Jan 09 – May 11, 2019
  • Class Meetings:

BLHV-274-101

Politics of Terrorism

How do bullets and ballots affect each other? This course explores the reality and interpretations of terrorism(s), Torture, Drones, and Humanitarian Interventions focusing on their role(s) in the forthcoming American national election by means of readings, lectures, media, research and focused discussions. Close examination of the political lessons learned from actual cases, yields different (and sometimes rival) interpretive frameworks. Weekly classroom practice in learning and applying these interpretive skills to our unfolding national elections enables students to gain new insights into the politics of terrorism, here and elsewhere.

Note: This course is online.


BLHS-107-01

The Early Modern World

This course examines the shift from the medieval to the modern, comparing various theories of chronological demarcation and discovering the difficulty of assessing social, political, religious, and literary phenomena. Course focuses on the Reformation, William Shakespeare, and modern science.

  • Course #: BLHS-107-01
  • CRN: 36916
  • Format: On-campus
  • Instructor: Brown, M.
  • Dates: Jan 09 – May 11, 2019
  • Class Meetings:
  • Syllabus: Download

BLHS-111-01

The New Millennium

This course must be taken as the student’s final course in the Core in that it draws on all the Core Courses. This is a course on late twentieth- and early twenty-first century America. Its time frame roughly corresponds to the life spans of most BALS students. Its purpose is to help apply the critical approaches they have learned elsewhere to the world in which they live.

Note: Class will be held at Berkley Center, 3307 M. St. NW, Suite 200.

  • Course #: BLHS-111-01
  • CRN: 16305
  • Format: On-campus
  • Instructor: Kessler, M.
  • Dates: Jan 09 – May 11, 2019
  • Class Meetings:
  • Syllabus: Download

BLHS-109-101

The Nineteenth Century

This course begins with Romanticism—its critique of the Enlightenment, its insistence that there is more to being human than reason, and its new way of envisioning the relationship between the individual and nature as well as between the individual and society. Romanticism began in Germany at the very end of the 18th century, was brought to England via Coleridge and Wordsworth, and crossed the Atlantic to America.

Note: This course is online.

  • Course #: BLHS-109-101
  • CRN: 36225
  • Format: Online
  • Instructor: Wackerfuss, A.
  • Dates: Jan 09 – May 11, 2019

BLHS-106-01

The Renaissance

This course focuses on the concerns and practices of Renaissance thinkers, writers, and artists, with particular attention paid to the ways in which they defined their own intellectual and artistic projects and how they situated them vis à vis the antecedent traditions to which they were reacting.

Note: This is a hybrid format.

  • Course #: BLHS-106-01
  • CRN: 20376
  • Format: On-campus
  • Instructor: Krawczyk, S.
  • Dates: Jan 09 – May 11, 2019
  • Class Meetings:

BLHV-348-01

Thesis Research

Students who are approved for a BALS thesis will take this 0 credit course in preparation for thesis writing.

Note: Students who are approved for a BALS thesis will take this 0 credit course in preparation for thesis writing.

  • Course #: BLHV-348-01
  • CRN: 30869
  • Format: On-campus
  • Instructor: TBD
  • Dates: Jan 09 – May 11, 2019
  • Class Meetings:

BLHV-349-01

Thesis Writing

Students work with the thesis advisor to begin constructing the framework for the proposed thesis.

  • Course #: BLHV-349-01
  • CRN: 30870
  • Format: On-campus
  • Instructor: TBD
  • Dates: Jan 09 – May 11, 2019
  • Class Meetings:

BLHV-301-02

Independent Study

  • Course #: BLHV-301-02
  • CRN: 37009
  • Format: On-campus
  • Instructor: Nan Ellen Nelson
  • Dates: Jan 09 – May 11, 2019
  • Class Meetings:

BLHV-301-01

Independent Study

  • Course #: BLHV-301-01
  • CRN: 35056
  • Format: On-campus
  • Instructor: Jensen, J.
  • Dates: Jan 09 – May 11, 2019
  • Class Meetings:

BLHS-110-01

War and Peace

In this course we analyze problems of war and peace from authoritarian, liberal, and realistic perspectives in the context of some national, ideological, and racial conflicts of the twentieth century. The course has two major components, one theoretical and the other humanist focused on novels, memoirs, historical narrations and films. We will study the views of the influential German jurist and political philosopher Carl Schmitt, a Nazi collaborator, who claims that the concept of enemy is the essence of the political and the ever present possibility of war is a reality humans can only deny hypocritically and are powerless to remove; the opposing view of American philosopher John Rawls who holds that a liberal conception of justice can be the basis for peace between peoples because even illiberal “decent” peoples may use it to solve international conflicts and avoid war; Samuel Huntington´s idea ( The Clash of Civilizations) that conflicts between civilizations will fuel the wars of the 21th century, and Francis Fukuyama´s theory ( The End of History and the Last Man) that the advance of democracy, capitalism, technological skills and science, in a word “globalization” will lead to a peaceful world society he identifies with the end of history.

  • Course #: BLHS-110-01
  • CRN: 16334
  • Format: On-campus
  • Instructor: Neimeyer, C.
  • Dates: Jan 09 – May 11, 2019
  • Class Meetings:
  • Syllabus: Download

BLHS-120-101

Writing in an Interdisciplinary Environment

This course is an introduction to writing in an academic context. Attention will be paid not only to mechanics but also to style and modes of argument. Students will read widely and work closely with the instructor on improving their analytical skills, developing and organizing their ideas, and writing clear, persuasive, and lively prose. This course should be taken during a B.A.L.S. student's first two semesters.

Note: This course is online.

  • Course #: BLHS-120-101
  • CRN: 33824
  • Format: Online
  • Instructor: Shinn, C.
  • Dates: Jan 09 – May 11, 2019
  • Syllabus: Download